I swear that when I was out for my evening run last night, the entire city of New York was running alongside of me. The nice weather has prompted lazy winter gym-goers from coast to coast to get out and get active. My Facebook feed is plagued with people talking about their couch to 5K plan with summer on the horizon and photos of gym gear prepping to tone up for beach season. And you know what that means, right? It's officially race season.
As someone who's completed seven half marathons and a whole slew of 5Ks in her life, I'd say I know a thing or two about gearing up for race day. Sure, signing up can be scary, but I promise you that if you're willing to put in the effort and prepare appropriately -- you can kick some running bootay.
Whether it's a 5K or a half marathon, check out my 5 tips to finishing you first race with pride:
1. Train in the right sneakers: If you're going commit to running fairly often, you want to make sure you have the right kicks. Your feet need to be taken care of, and if you don't have the appropriate "feet suit" (as I like to call 'em), then you could be putting stress on the wrong parts of your soles. My advice? Check out a running store and get your gate analyzed on a treadmill.
2. Stride in the right gear: No, I'm not saying to go buy out all of your local sporting goods store and splurge just because you wanna pick up a new habit. But you need the essentials: good bottoms that won't make you chafe, a sweat wicking top, and some great sports bras. Once race day approaches, make sure to go for a run in the clothes you plan on wearing to test out how they feel. The last thing you want is a tank that rubs you in the wrong places.
3. Fuel up: Just like those pasta parties back in high school, you've earned some extra carbs for your big race. My go-to pre-race breakfast is a Bagel Thin with peanut butter, so I can get in both carbs and some protein. Plus, it keeps me satisfied.
4. Be strategic: Don't give everything you've got at the very beginning only to tire out by the second mile. Make sure to pace yourself and, if available, use water stations provided along the route.
5. Keep your eye on the prize: This is your FIRST race. I understand the desire to be a little speedy, but your best doesn't necessarily mean you have to shatter world records. Keep focused on finishing, even when it may feel like you can't run anymore. The goal should be to cross the finish line and be proud of yourself, no matter how long it takes.
Are you a runner? Do you want to be? Have you ever trained for a race and have tips and tricks you want to share?
Image via Emily Abbate
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